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Sacramento State Faculty

Semarhy Quinones, Ph.D.

Faculty Portrait

Contact Information

Name: Dr. Semarhy Quinones-Soto

Title: Director, Student Research Center

Office Location: Library 2026


Office Hours: TBA


B.S. Microbiolgy University of Puerto Rico, Humacao

Ph.D. Microbiology University of California, Davis

Post-Doc Bacterial Genetics University of California, Davis 

University Service & Other Appointments

Associate Project Director, CSU-LSAMP Statewide Office (SQU 226)

RISE Program Coordinator, NIH Research Initiative for Scientific Advancement (RISE) Program     

LSAMP Research Coordinator, Science Educational Equity Program (SQU 320C)  

Lecturer, Biological Sciences

SACNAS Chapter Advisor 

 SACNAS    SEE Program      


Courses That I Teach


BIO 184:   General Genetics (Lecture, Sec 09)   Tu,Th 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm Sequoia Hall 338

Past Courses:

BIO 7: Introduction to the Science of Biology (lecture & lab)

BIO 10: Basic Biological Concepts

BIO 184: General Genetics (lab)

BIO 220: Intro to Scientific Inquiry 

BIO 223: Human Molecular Genetics

NSM 21: First Year Seminar

Research Projects/Interests

I have a deep passion to mentor and advise students in the sciences, particularly students from traditionally underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing science careers – biomedical, industry or academia. I also desire to enhance the participation of women in STEM fields. Since starting as a Biology Lecturer at Sacramento State, I began my involvement as an Academic Advisor and as the Research Coordinator for the Science Educational Equity (SEE) program. As SEE's Research Coordinator, I am deeply committed to improve the undergraduate research experience of SEE students by providing academic and career advise, graduate school preparedness and monitoring the students’ research and academic progress, while facilitating interactions between faculty mentors and student researchers.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao (UPRH), I participated in the NIGMS-MARC (U-STAR) program. Through the MARC program, I gained the intellectual merit, advancing knowledge and understanding in the research field required to enter and complete a Ph.D. program. This research-training program played a vital role in my development as a scientist, becoming a member of the scientific community and becoming a mentor for students who wish to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields. As part of my professional goals, I wish to provide the same opportunities I had to students at Sacramento State.

Currently, I collaborate with Dr. Drew Reams understanding an organism’s response to stressful environments, specifically genetic adaptation under selection. Genetic adaptation happens when a cell exposed to prolonged stressful conditions (selection) acquires changes in its genotype (adaptive mutations) that mitigate the effects of stress. These adaptive mutations are responsible for the development of new genes and novel phenotypes within a species, such as multi-antibiotic resistance strains, the avoidance of pathogens to host’s defenses, and the acquisition of new metabolic functions. In general, genetic adaptation is central to many aspects of life, including the progress of infectious diseases and development of cancer.

Professional Associations, Awards & Scholarships

Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute - 2016 SLI Alumna

SACNAS - Advancing Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science

AAAS - American Association for the Advancement of Acience

CUR - Council of Undergraduate Research


NIH-IMSD Scholar, University of California, Davis (2003-2004)

MARC U-STAR Scholar, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao (2000-2002)

PR-LSAMP Scholar, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao (2000)


Zorraquino-Salvo, V., S. Quinones-Soto, ,M. Kim, N. Rai, I. Tagkopoulos. 2014. Deciphering the genetic and transcriptional basis of cross-stress responses in Escherichia coli under complex evolutionary scenarios. doi:

Sano, E., S. Maisnier-Patin, S. Quinones-Soto, J.P. Aboubechara and J.R. Roth. 2014. Selected Lac+ mutants in the Cairns system are initiated by pre-exiting cells with plasmid amplification. Genetics 198 (3), 919-933

Dragosits, M., V. Mozhayskiy, S. Quinones-Soto, J. Park and I. Tagkopoulos. 2013. Evolutionary potential, cross-stress behavior and the genetic basis of acquired stress resistance in Escherichia coli. Nature/EMBO Molecular Systems Biology 9(643)

Quinones-Soto, S., A.B. Reams and J.R. Roth. 2012. Pathways of Genetic Adaptation: Multi-step Origin of Mutants under Selection in Salmonella enterica. Genetics. 192:987-999

Quinones-Soto, S. and J.R. Roth. 2011. Effect of Growth under Selection on Appearance of Chromosomal Mutations in Salmonella enterica. Genetics. 189(1):37-53